Take Up the Cross – Chapter 28: Tight Negotiations ☆

“Elf, fought! Good job! Now: up. Get power.”



Hoisted off the ground, a squeezed snake elf is pulled along as she protests. Briefly trying to flee, she then meekly squirms while quietly crying. The vibrantly energetic Kol tramps back, dropping Ave and standing in an inspection line.

A betrayed mystic passively waits with them to hear new lies as she clears dust that Still missed.


Of the cloaked girl…


(Do you think I’ll pull something on you, too?)


After recovering her blade, Still has been impishly rocking on the heels of her feet while spectating at a slight distance.


(If you want to see my true nature, then here-)


“PUDDLE! GET OVER HERE! Ah, ‘nevermind’, new idea.” Yelling at her, Kol then brings a finger to her helmet, tapping it after turning to Adris.

“Boss, power for sneaky Puddle, give Kol, instead! Kakaka! Throw away, ‘backstabber’ – HM!? ‘Annoying’!”


Ducking at first by instinct to avoid a flung distracting ampule, the boisterous knight lifts her foot quickly after a popping sound comes from it. Scraping off a thick green substance that sizzles in the open air, Kol growls before turning and trying to throw it at Still.

When the noxious substance clings to and discolors her flailing hand, she stalks forward until Neesiette grabs her.


“Kol, be still.” Wiping off the substance with a fine cloth she pulls from her dress, it begins smoking as she tosses it away.


“Ah, ‘thank you’, Moon! Now, crush-!”




“Hold your useless bickering!” Three faces return to a boy with a raised, upturned hand. “Going to such great lengths to demonstrate power oft disbelieved, I find that I might have made a mistake with who to share…?”


“AH! Kol, still want!”

Jumping back in line, Kol’s obedience matches her avarice.


“EH!? Yes, sorry!? Ave is ready!”

Though she’s contributed nothing to the problem, Ave apologizes.


Neesiette gives a plaintive stare at Still, before receiving a shrug. Turning back, the doll girl remains sour.




(I’m not making a mistake, right…? No, it’s fine.)


Anxious at first, Adris self-corrects.


(That’s just how they are. I can’t fix that immediately. You don’t need to bully my “partner”, I’m about to for you.)


Taking advantage of their attention, he clears his throat.

“As misunderstandings might persist, let us begin with the following: though the winner of the combat, I have no intention of owning, or dictating orders to, any of you-”




“No, Boss win!? Boss, Kol boss. Our Boss. Especially Puddle, Boss! Boss say ‘destroy’, we say ‘how much?’”

Easily talking over him, a rich and deceptively womanly voice announces his appointment to supreme ruler of the group while also ignoring such inherent authority.


“Kol, one must be silent when addressed in such a setting.”

“AH!? But, Kol right!”


(… Please shut up. I’m not going to lead you… weirdos, at least not openly.)


Refraining from sighing, he dives back into his speech.


“While Kol is technically correct, in practice I demand only one thing:


Agree to hear me out regarding the power I offer. Disregard all further orders according to your will, for what I desire is merely respect due and a path to curtail the future I’ve foreseen.

All four of you bear promise you cannot conceive of, yet you are rewarded with a being such as I to unveil your true potency.”


Swallowing as eyes widen at the order, he reiterates his promise to Kol.


“As was stated, my true enemy is the Alchemaster. My objective is… to create the opportunity to save this world from the threat she represents… a threat I challenge you to avert, if you wish for Zennia to survive!”


(Become my eternal weapons, ones ever thrust at a convenient target!)


“This Castillo shall be our playground, not theirs. I shall deliver this outcome to you, as one among equals!”


Unlike with its formation…


Something stirs with these contracted words promising equality. As a wind howls through the room, Adris shields his eyes from the dust blowing by.

Out of the corner of his eyes…


… he sees dancers, twirling.


Moving his head with absolute quickness, his eyes lock onto unmoving statues. The girls follow his gaze, reminding him to watch his expression.


(This is getting… out of hand…)


While Kol cheers with her tail still wagging and fist pumping, Ave’s face is surprised with his declaration refusing slavery, her mouth in an “o” shape briefly before she smiles brightly and claps twice. Neesiette’s intense inspection of him grows ever more oppressive, though she loses her defensiveness completely.


Finally joining the others in the line, Still’s amicable expression can’t hide her conflict.

{Right, we’re all in this together~! How else could it be~?}


Though the intent means one thing, Adris can see the insecurity in her gestures, no matter how she tries to hide it.

With hidden gestures only Adris can see, she announces her oath’s conclusion.


{As agreed, we shall be… equal. What… are you doing?}


She shakes her hand, disbelief filling her “voice.”




(I’ve finally shocked even you, have I? What do you think begins, now?)





{A moment of your time?}


With the food package thrown to the desk without a care…


(… Question or… ah. Not a question.)


Looking past her, a red piece of parchment has been attached to the wall near the door. Strange words upon it are legible, its purpose obscure but hazardous.


(Conflict, negotiation, or ultimatum… which is it? Am I valuable… or a loose end?)


With his body primed to attack, Rantil’s folio and an incantation on his lips are ready.

Seating herself on the desk, she calmly rubs along the top’s edge.


“There’s always time for pleasant conversation with someone who… understands my thoughts.” Smiling, Adris drops his persona a bit, letting something more comfortable peek through.


(You only get a bit of my charm. I’m always a “false god”, now, unfortunately.)


Sitting in a delectably feminine way, her hands coquettishly fold together, until she starts signing casually.


{When we found you at the overlook, Neesiette was pretty shaken~. Of all the interesting things in the Castillo, she chose you to obsess over. In fact…}

Putting a finger to her mask’s lips, she hints at a secret.

{Everyone seems interested in you~. I can see why, some of the things you told Ave were fascinating.}


(Interrogated her pretty efficiently, did you?)


{… But you know, if you can’t see the stars beyond the clouds on Xin, where do you see them?}

Mind racing, the question throws him for a loop.


(“Beyond the clouds?” Stars are found in the Sea of Stars, deep underwater… Lost Drops of Creation, forever unreachable… There’s nothing beyond the clouds. This is a distraction.)


Even if he calls it that, the question unnerves him, as if she’s hinting at an answer to a puzzle he’s noticed but can’t describe.

“Stars are stars. What’s more relevant is what one smart girl thinks of me.”


Tilting her head, she scoffs at his compliment.

{You’re very observant, at least. What you’ve said… hasn’t been wrong.}


Inviting Adris with a curling finger, he understands the play.

Rising with energy, he flexes his machismo as he coolly struts to the chair behind the desk, falling into it.

When his hand goes to the desk, she reaches over  tentatively to lay a finger on it, drawing back softly to rub between his fingers.


(… Seduction?)


As the attractive girl hints at an ages-old method, she suddenly pulls back into a business-like touch of her chin.

{Rather than just discussing with everyone the problems, have you thought of how to fix them…?}


“Yes, I have some ideas.” Leaning back dramatically…


“But I could never get the chance to talk to the person in charge of this group willingly and privately… until now.”

When she stops moving, he laughs.




“What does the ‘mastermind’ of these three intrepid delvers wish to discuss? Business or… pleasure?”




With the gauntlet thrown down, the woman before him becomes…


Absurdly brazen.


Nimbly rolling onto the desk, she curls like a cat while looking at him coyly, a manic smile accompanying fluid motions that end with a finger to her mouth.


{Ahahaha, ‘mastermind’ is a bit too… grandiose~. I’m just… making sure everyone sees the end of the day and everything works out~!}

More hidden gestures clarify.


{And by “working out”, I mean I get what I want~.}


(Perfect, I understand that desire. And so long as I grasp that you’re in charge, you’re willing to skip to open negotiations.)


As with the southern barbarians, all “democracies” as relayed by the scholars are actually about control disguised as equality.

“You’re doing quite well for yourself, having Neesiette serve as a lightning rod. There’s great talent in your group-”


Suddenly frustrated, Still launches into a flurry of gestures.


{No need to hide it, you’ve easily noticed by now. Between the metal head lashing out in suicidal ways, Ave constantly harassing me when she’s not being… sadly useless, and Neesiette forgiving the retard’s excesses… no, even that girl will have nearly unstoppable flights of fancy…}

Losing her facade briefly, Still then calms. Quickly rising to cross her legs on the desk and hang off it facing him, she laments their situation.

{Even if I avoid every creature in this hellhole on the way up, they are too dysfunctional to… do what needs to be done as is.}


A sidelong glance is given to him as she silently huffs. Creeping out enticingly, a hand once again joins his, the pleasant feeling of her mesh on his skin as she rubs his wrist.


{But then out of the blue… a “shining star” appeared before me, offering hope~. A dashing figure in brilliant silver~.}


(… You really want me this badly? Though I can see how I might appeal, you’re awfully forward and willing to admit to some pretty terrible things about your situation.)


{So, it’s wonderful to think that I have the opportunity to… court such a useful gentleman~! Hey, would you consider-}


“What prompts this… rapid interest?”


Interrupting her, she is stiff until she points at the door.

{Rapid? Well. That would be because Neesiette is about to expire your input into things. No more sneaking around~! Even if you get kidnapped by Ave to be wooed when we look the other way, she’s resolved to hogtie and drag you screaming… AH, no there was a gag~!}

Covering a silent laugh at the last part, Adris realizes the danger.


(You want me, she doesn’t. This is your only chance. How sad, Neesiette seems so very interested.)


“Since you make the best decisions, you feel differently?”

Letting her head bob back and forth, her gestures hint at that.

{Unlike her, I am… aware of certain things. There’s a very deep “flavor” to you, one she will never understand. I’ve marked over the last six months what she can and cannot feel out, whether she admits it or not.}


(Six months!? All of you have been together that long and you haven’t…?)


Ave had mentioned passage of time briefly, but that length exceeds his expectations. Tensing her hand, Still continues.


{Oh? Yes. Is it so surprising?}


Adris feels his heart stop.


(My countenance should be flawless, so how…?)


{In six months, they’ve barely mastered navigating the [Roaming Gardens] outside. All attempts at pushing through the Forbidding Quarters have failed. Now, as you can guess, escape has become somewhat of a pickle~.}


As he sickens at the admission, Still surprises him further by slinking off the desk, her hands coming to his neck and waist before he can react. Rubbing cutely, the affection subconsciously excites him, even as the opportunities to harm him grow.


(They’re desperate and also doomed! Ah, you shouldn’t touch me there! Nor at all…)


Finding Adris’ weak point at his ear, the woman that reads him like an open book continues.

{Axebrain wants to fight you, feeling confident you will oblige. Why? That interests me~. Neesiette is obsessed with you, no matter how she tries to hide it, because of that… special tongue of yours. She’ll deny herself for our good, of course. Ave is…}


Stopping suddenly, her body sighs.


{If you winked at Ave, she might strip right then and there, presenting herself for you as a prize. That girl is more smitten than any I’ve ever seen. How does it feel to deceive an innocent girl’s heart and be offered the rarest “affection” to devour at your leisure?}


(… Too much information, and the wrong question when you’re threatening to do the same!)


Sliding into his lap as his mouth waters, the girl’s legs playfully hang off the side. The taller figure comfortably crushes her legs against his engorging dick.

While the mesh is cold, it’s terribly soft when her free, non-gesturing hand rubs his cheek.


{But you know, I think you can do better…}


“… Oh?”


{Since you seem competent, why not rebalance things instead of just being dragged along? Those who can run the show… should~! If you were to consider a brilliant future…}

His breathing slows, the growing sexual tension drops in an instant, a teasing smile showing she notices his dissatisfaction.


{You can replace a poor child who doesn’t understand people… and hear whispers on the wind, followed by rewards for attending to them~?}

A viciously seductive woman offers an easy life as her proxy, a hint of payment coming as her finger rubs over his lips.




“You think too little of my power.”


Flat and scathing, his response to the innuendo results in an abrupt cessation of affection.

Slowly gesturing, she tries to be diplomatic.


{No, no, no… it’s because I value you that-}


“Value? Perhaps. But believe? I doubt it.”


Waving her hand, she pats his thigh.

{It doesn’t matter, right~? “False god”, “another world”, whatever~! As long as you’re not one of the Golden Bitch’s followers, the cloth over that cross might not let it sing… but the mask does. It says we’re… enough alike to work out~.}


The mask that Neesiette offered no criticism of is picked out by her, a revelation of her dangerous insight into Adris’ true nature.




“You’ve been guiding things the whole time.”

Every advance Adris has been given was because of…




{Of course~! I’m not dumb, you knowwww~? I can appreciate the kind of… man you are.}

Letting her breasts rub against his chest, she gently holds him to her.


(Dangerous! This Castillo…!)


Being in the presence of seduction is the same as falling to it in a demonic mansion.


{As long as the “flavor” is similar and we don’t… contradict each other, then…? If you promise you’ll fix this for me… why not…?}

Thinking briefly, or pretending to, she snaps her fingers.

{The perfect reward is just outside~! One meathead! You know… under the armor… she’s not… hideous…}

As if complimenting Kol hurts her soul, Still shudders.


{Right, right~! You can have a nice pet! Teach her to say “woof” again! Don’t care for her: just water her and direct her at the nearest thing to smash! Then you can… push her down in the halls if you want to, pull down her leggings and inject a bit of heat of your own into her fire… As long as she does her part, some puppies won’t slow her down! Maybe getting knocked up will even fix her brain~!}

With a highly suggestive description, Adris feels overwhelmed.


(That’s some animosity… You’d readily betray her even if I wasn’t here…)


{As long as you leave Neesiette alone and don’t hurt Ave, no problems! A personal pet and an angel in darkest blue to take care of you~. Your… need is power, right? Maybe control? An artifact in the Castillo? As long as you listen to me…}


Poking his nose, her tight smile is aggressive.


{… You’ll be amply rewarded.}




“I see. And what if what I desire is Ave?”


With her freezing at the question, Adris quickly amends it.

“Not to own, mind you, but if you suggest Kol… Should Ave seek me out on her own, she is… quite attractive. Terribly alluring…”


(What will you give up in these negotiations? This is overly generous. What am I worth?)


Completely unmoving for a moment, Still makes a few gestures flippantly.


{Ehhh, you want her? Really~? Ahaha, didn’t you see how she shakes? Didn’t she tell you? Weird~!}




His face left blank, she slaps his thigh before continuing.

{Oh, she didn’t say anything about the imps? Ahhhh, I figured she would come crawling to you for comfort when I sent her in~. It was so messy, you know. Thought that was why she was fixating on a “nice guy.”}


Sweat is on Adris’ brow, a strange feeling gripping his heart as a hand moves down to his pants. Beginning to unloop his belt before he can stop her, she shuffles her weight so she can free a half-erected length.


{Ah, yeah, we were almost to the central hall, so close! Then Ave lost her guard when Kol ran out to swing alone in a group of imps~. Oh, they were on Ave pretty quickly~. Pushing, pulling, lifting, touching, so many young, virile males crowding her~! They’re not huge, mind you, but when you have that many boys, forceful and thinking only of you, I guess Ave probably couldn’t help but enjoy it~!}


Lewdly pumping on his engorging shaft, the outrageous girl sitting on his thighs stares into his face as his thoughts grow odd.


{Grinding and slamming on top of her, Neesiette screaming for Kol to help, me fighting four girls who wanted to rub-rub while watching it. It’s a chilling, but erotic, sight to see a boy shudder on your friend one last time while looking so jubilant about it! Licking and kissing before pulling off of her, so that another boy can climb on and seek his own release inside her~!}


Unable to stop her, the dexterous hand rubs the moistening tip as she relates a horrible tale. Though he should resist, the awful story also increases the horniness bleaching his mind.


(There’s… no way.)


{Ave, crying the whole time, even as she was blushing and moaning~! I’d wager that she’s been blessed with a little, growing bundle of joy. If you like that sort of thing, I’m sure she’d be happy to let you pretend to be the “daddy” and pump some more inside-}




Still is lifted into the air by a sudden burst of strength.

A terrible heartbeat is sounding, with Adris unable to hear over it. He’s gripping Still’s neck with a strength he didn’t know he possessed.


His cross moves.


Still easily breaks free, balancing herself on him as undisguised anger wells up in her shrouded body. Her mask an expression of outrage, she firmly seizes his left hand.

Left struggling and reaching in to strangle her…




An open palm rapidly flashes in front of him.




{Stop, stop, stop! Wait! Time out!}




When his mind starts functioning off of more than instinct again, he realizes she’s already calming down quickly.




{She was never assaulted. They got frisky, touched a little too much, exposed themselves, and we ran. Although Ave did cry, she was safe.}


Anger subsiding, his clearheadedness picks at the immense anger which had no justifiable source.

“What do you hope to… gain from goading me like this?”

But then, he recalls her previous use of Ave in conversation, realizing that he’s once again been stupidly played.


Still bows her head once, moving fluidly to share the reason.

{I’m not gonna “apologize”, but Ave’s… constitution makes people react one of three ways to her: they want to help her; they show respect and distance; or, they… want to brutally harm her.}


Anger directed inwardly grips Adris, an external care again ruining his self control.


{I guess your experience is a little novel~! It’s somehow nice to see someone get mad for her sake twice in a row, and I guess you have some redeeming qualities for caring about that odd girl.}


(Throwing fresh meat at an animal to see their response… When you know the outcomes, it’s an effective tactic.)


With a frustrated look creeping out on his face, she misinterprets the reason.

{Don’t worry, it’s not like I can’t protect her. If she’s in trouble… I can’t help but know. Severe misfortune comes to those who try to hurt her, with me merely being the… finisher.}


Adris flinches, the girl’s reserved smile accompanying her crotch sliding now against his rock hard dick.


(She’s not wearing anything else but the mesh!?)


{Messing with me gets teasing back… Also, if you were gonna hit me with the cross, then it is dangerous~! Good to know~!}


Screaming at himself, what began with Lycia is a repeating pattern, a fixation that can undermine him completely. Even if Serras seems like less of a gaping wound, this feeling towards witnessing a scenario like betrayal is viciously self-destructive.




A hand moves over his cock head like she’s sculpting it. Mysteriously, the mesh is wet now and frictionless. The unknown liquid sends a tingling as she hits every spot that teases his pleasure.


(This evil witch!)


{It’s a bit… strange and refreshing, now that you make me admit it. Seeing you have real emotion on your face, I guess you are “alive.” If you weren’t able to feel genuine feelings…? But, since you are…}


She assaults him with her breasts again. Even though the doublet is thick, the yielding mass of her boobs fires him up like nothing else. The one thing Serras always lacked is…


(And you start stroking like that the moment you distract me!?)


Left breathing roughly, her handjob picks up speed. Scooting up, she begins rubbing his dick against her cleft as she leans back, running fingers along the top side as she does so.

Her annoying silent gestures come with her overly cheerful, fake persona.


{Is what I offer such a bad deal…~? Maybe you need… more~?}


(It’s not awful, no! But… AH, it’s not what I want! I need the… offensive!)




Grabbing her suddenly and squeezing her body against his, he has his head under her hat and whispering into her ear.


“I’m a man who could never be content pretending to be doing what a woman deserves credit for. I want her to be… beside me, so she can see what I can really do.”

Flinching, Still pushes out of the hug. Her mask is neutral, a sure sign that she’s shocked.


Smiling seductively, Adris gives her back what she’s given him, reaching in to wrap around her waist.

“Rather than getting rewarded, I think… being partners with such a woman would be the beginning of an ample reward.”




Head jerking back, Still is still speechless… until her hand grips hard around his cock again, delivering a clear message.




Leaning in while pumping him again, the mastermind that’s been hiding in plain sight hugs him for the first time without it appearing planned.

Stroking his cheek after pulling away, swift gestures agree.


{… Okay, big boy~! … “Partners” is not… a bad thing, if you plan to be useful enough~!}

With the slick sound of his serviced dick accompanying her proposals, he admires the pleasure that comes with a successful negotiation.

{You shape up Kol and Ave, I’ll handle Neesiette. She needs a… special touch, one you don’t seem to have~. Time will fix her, anyway. We work together: you have your goals, I have mine. You don’t need to know-}




“Know what? That you want to kill the Alchemaster?”




Again, she freezes, before her hand grips his member even more tightly, making him hiss.


(Stop doing that! Or don’t… actually.)


Realizing that pleasure comes after the abuse, a dangerous thought in the back of his head is gaining traction with the Council of Adris. Pumping ever more diligently, Still both rewards and punishes his observations.


{… You’re not bad. Okay, that’s fine~. So, knowing I want that monster, will you… cut and run?}


Gripping her copious butt, she grows deeply frustrated for a moment before calming. Before she can complain…




“On the contrary, I’d love to help.”


She slaps him on the shoulder before signing madly.

{Why can you say something like that and seem to mean it!? Look, you have no idea what sort of things she’s done. I find it hard to believe you’d be willing to-}


“Ah, then don’t believe me. We can discuss that later.”

Interrupting her, the girl returns to her sly ways as she services him.


(I’m actually… feeling profoundly appreciative of your hands. I doubt I could do as well as you. You move like you’ve owned my cock your whole life…)


“Partners, is it? Leaving off Kol, Ave, and Neesiette, what if what I desire can’t be easily conveyed with words…?”

Digging into her fat bottom under her skirt, he reaches in to kiss her neck. Though he can only kiss the mesh, the young woman is shocked once more.


{That’s… an odd desire you possess. … It’s not… impossible, as long as you’re not lying~? But… let’s keep things to a more… acquaintance level first~.}


Forced to pull back on displays of affection, the thought of this being what acquaintances do is still strange.

“Do the people of this world regularly consort with ‘acquaintances’?”


(Even I wouldn’t live this sort of sordid life… Well… no… if I hadn’t recovered from Serras as quickly as I have, I might…)


{Isn’t that hilarious~!?}


Rocking on his body, the part-time jester shows the most humor he’s seen yet.

{If you consider casual sex to be too much, you need to re-evaluate your thoughts about females… on this world. No, sex in general! With rape around the corner… only boring people sweat a willing touch~.}


(Still, to do this for favor with me… I must be more valuable than I can see, since you seem in control of your lust.)


A finger plays with the hole at the front of his cock, an annoying but pleasureful movement.

{While Ave is a deeply impressionable girl, if she thought you were interested she’d sleep nude beside you on the first night, completely sleepless as she waited for you to be inside her~. Even that… mutt would be spreading her cheeks for the first tasteless man that fit her… bizarre requirements.}


For some reason, the thought that they’d be so promiscuous bothers Adris.


“And you?”


With a somewhat scornful tone alerting her, Still grows ever more coy.

Shifting on his body, her wet crotch grinds against his balls and cock. Full thighs and legs fear nothing about the chair’s arms, hanging out and tempting Adris to massage them.


{Meeee? Well… this young lady is a bit… no, actually, quite discerning~.}


Rapidly pumping his dick, she punctuates her almost tacit admission that Adris appeals by seeking to fry his brain.


(With zero friction from her strange medicine, fast is only better! Yeah, no, please don’t work me up until I can taste…!)


Hand just next to his face, her weird gestures spell out her thoughts.

{Rather than worrying what I want… what does a… supreme being want? Do you want… to be owner of a quivering girl with delusions of prince-worship? Please tell me you don’t want a mongrel’s dirty hole if you had a choice…? … It’s not a smaller girl, I know…}


Smashing her thumb powerfully on his glans, Neesiette is declared off limits.


{If not those then… who~?}


Lifting her hips with her hand planted for balance, a slick pussy separated by a thin fabric crests his head, rubbing him along the opening. Handjob ended, this is the only pleasure afforded him.


(Right now, the only hole I want is yours! But… I can’t admit that!)


Asserting authority over him, Still is treading on ground he almost ceded to Lycia. Left gasping for release, Adris fights back by gripping on her butt.


(The one girl I can’t show weakness to is you! You’ll eat me alive!)


Stopping with interest, she receives an impressive display of bravado.


“Huh, if you have discerning tastes, then recognize mine: what I want is what I will claim. If I desire it, it will be mine.”

Leaning closer, he voices her options.


“You’ll need to answer with action what you refuse to admit with a silent tongue. Can you guess what I want?”


No longer moving, he waits for her to ask him.


“If you want it, too, then seek it.”




A muffled slap coincides with pain on his cheek.


(You… bitchy woman!)


Indignant and suddenly reminded of the ability she has to harm him, he’s thrown off balance as she finally replies to his ultimatum…




Fabric is felt, before it deforms and he enters into a place of pure pleasure.




With both arms on his shoulders, she lets him linger only two inches or more inside of her, beginning to gyrate smoothly to let the passage massage his head.

A smile of fake beneficence is on her mask as she sexually teases him.


(… You have a lot of tricks! Damn it, let me all the way AH! In! Gahh, it’s not fair!)


The older girl gives up something spectacular, but only half way. To make it more injurious, he’s disallowed to feel flesh, forced to enjoy it through her super-stretchy body covering.


(Why won’t it tear!?)


Being denied causes Adris to go wild with hatred of clothing. The most delectable meal offered so far by this Castillo is only half enjoyable as juices slowly drip down his cock.

Almost ready to release, the boy laments that again he’ll be denied.


(God damn it, it’s not right! Firing me up with your hand, just to rush it like this! A man shouldn’t OOOOHHH!)


Lifting off his cock, Still buries his face between her breasts. Though the doublet material is unpleasant on his skin, he breathes hard at the gentle crushing of his cheeks.


(Ah, not as bountiful as Lady Yehrlis… but… wonderfully soft! Ah! No, don’t cum from just this AH!!!)




When his abandoned cock starts twitching, her breasts leave his face.


Falling down on top of him…




… his dick is driven up all the way into her, before he cums as hard as he possibly can into her sudden depths.

Still rubs his head and ear, causing him to jerk towards the pleasant touch, his seminal passage pushing wads of white into her.

But, he’s not the only one shuddering.


As he shakes, she too is jerking slightly.


(… AH, good, you… lose, too!)


Pulling her into an embrace, the surprised girl is lifted and brought down repeatedly as one last drive results in a final spurt issued toward her womb, making his climax worth the trouble.

Opposed to the sudden embrace, she recovers and quickly lifts off his still jerking penis. Moaning softly, Adris cringes as she sits in front of him again, her soaked slit against his satisfied dick.


A minute or two passes as they calm, before Still starts erratically gesturing.


{You’re… real hugger…~! Who knew cute, cute… a false god be would~.}


(… Shut up! You’re the one that can’t talk!)


Swiftly recovering his dignity, the girl’s hard sale devolves into teasing.


“… Cute? Wouldn’t that be a girl who loses control the moment she gets a taste of a real man’s length and seed?”

Perturbed, she curiously lingers with her gestures, spending extra time on them.

{“Real man”, is it? Moaning as you were when I deigned to share some warmth with you…}


(You’re actually quite cold!)


“A woman brags about warmth, but seems unable to look at her ‘partner’ squarely.”


With Still’s head drooping as she gestures, she looks drunk. Whipping up at the phrase, she leers hidden daggers.

Menacingly, her finger comes to his lip, wiping his chin before pulling away.

{Says the boy… drooling at his own cute dick’s surrender…~}


“… A woman who can’t admit anything isn’t cute.”

{Neither is a boy pretending to be a lady killer~!}


“I’ve brought a woman to the finish line plenty of times as she rode my cock, with it always ending just like you.”


(Just… primarily, it was the same woman.)




{I fuckin’ told you I didn’t cum! If you’re so fuckin’ observant, then learn the difference between fakin’ for sympathy and-}

Slapping his shoulder, brutal gestures roll out before she suddenly ceases in mid “sentence”.




Silence rules the boring room, the heated sparks that still linger between the two of them fizzling out.


(So, it takes teasing you to get some completely honest lies out. And there’s no way that was fake! … Also, there’s no semen on my pants? Shouldn’t it have spilled out…?)


“… Well, my apologies. Though admittedly unnecessary, I merely wanted to ensure you were properly satisfied by the finest experience.”

Though his expression is far from apologetic, an arrogant olive branch is hurled out.


{… Ain’t… Yeah, it’s fine. Don’t worry, it was… plenty enjoyable for me~. Even if… a little short~!}

Getting in the last stab while leaving his lap, Still sits back on the desk.




(Evil… woman…! No, this isn’t bad…)


Even if she’s terrible…

She’s a genuine experience, causing him to laugh inside as he untenses with his sageness increasing.


{… Well, if you’re as contented as I know you are, then let’s… refocus. A method of binding people to their word exists, one that pertains to the readiness of that meatshield in agreeing to-}


“Oh, why should I ensnare Kol in another oath? Is one not sufficient?”




The air is cold as she remains motionless.


(Hah, this is where… you lose, cheat. Trying to fool me with sexual favors doesn’t get you far. It’s interesting we had the same plan.)


Moving fluidly and with zero visible aggression, the highly focused girl begins with questions.

{Strange knowledge to have~? Aren’t you from another world~? How does someone from another world know about this~?}


Shifting his weight, Adris pleasantly smiles while sharing the truth.

“The process was learned from the upper levels. As for who… Ave mentioned an elvish god named…?”


Shaking her head quickly, Still moves frantically.

{Please tell me you didn’t swear to that idiot Pellaeon? No… no, the important question is… when did you do it…?}


(Can’t detect a heart beat that doesn’t change, can you?)


Using aura training, Adris prevents this one tell, hopefully blinding her to the secret.


(… But… what do you mean “when”?)


“When talking with her, obviously.”


Jolting back, Still tries to hide her fright.

{Huh, she didn’t say anything.}


(What are you hiding…?)


A situation like mutual ignorance becomes the theme of this study, Still suddenly very uncomfortable with Adris as he also feels stalked.

Breaking the ice…



“I said that you would try to stop her.”


Obviously disappointed at first, she then reveals a slight smile with a moving hand.

{What was the pledge?}


“I’d be happy to share that…”


Taking time, parts one through four are explained.




{Surprisingly well thought out.}


A dismissive comment that annoys him is quickly followed up.

{No, I guess for my “partner” it’s expected~! Alright… let’s divvy up these useless girls and keep them under wraps… We can use them until we find… something better~! How about-}


With the gestures she conveys so fluidly, Adris feels… a hint of deep sadness. When speaking of teammates she’s obviously taken great care of, she seems to put up a thin front.




“I’m having second thoughts.”


The girl freezes her hands in mid movement at his bored voice.


“Isn’t what you’re offering quite low?”


{… What is so wrong with this arrangement? Do you not want to own them? … What’s wrong with them?}

Growing accusative, her questions challenge him with flourish.

{You think you’ll get a better deal from them, why not try~? If anything, I’m being plenty generous~… You lookin’ down on the… gifts I’m offerin’? My ambitions too low for you? You want more?}

Twitching slightly, her last gestures are cruel.


{I just showed you… a sign of what…}

The smile on her face is cold, clinical.


“There’s nothing wrong with us. You’re just supposed to see potential better. Seeking a relationship where you sell them out, aren’t you thinking quite lowly about them?”

Getting up from the chair, Still twists away skittishly at this.


“Isn’t the one looking down on them you, and not me? Instead of just using them, why not help them become someone as efficient as you?”


Still waves her hand lazily, immediately rejecting him.

{There’s no way they’ll ever be my match, even later on. Besides, Neesiette might be fine with me… but that trash pile’s opinion is what I can expect from anyone else. Even Ave just… misunderstands who… and what I am.}

There’s insecurity to her movements, pauses between gestures. Agitated, she grabs his jerkin with a denigrating, twisted smile.


{… Who the fuck are you to talk, bastard!? Listen to you! Slidin’ up to Ave and wormin’ your way in like a fuckin’ parasite. I had to listen to her brag about your “handsome voice and wonderful attention” for an hour!

You’re schemin’ with me to save your skin and you care about my relationship with ‘em? I mean… we could go out cryin’ fake tears about our honest intentions to enslave ‘em for their own good; but, while Ave might be right as rain about it, I think at least Kol would…}


A rude chop to his forehead spells out the result, a warped smile showing her thoughts on forgiveness.


(That’s the sort of path you walk on when you are like we are…)


{Stop actin’ like you care about ‘em. Just ‘cause you’re not total scum doesn’t mean you’re worth believin’ in…


no, you lying seems normal…~ You can’t be anything positive for them.}


“Talking” at first honestly, she gives up and returns to the way she usually speaks.


“You misunderstand. You simply use the lie to begin a true relationship.”

More vexed at his softly spoken words, she releases him. Anxious about her impending betrayal but desperate to hide it, her refusal to feel proud is her most attractive feature.


“Still, one tactical lie solves the problem as long as we’re not… scared of the repercussions and aim for the good.” When the girl winces, Adris pushes on.

“Instead of enforcing ‘ownership,’ why not enforce ‘equality?’ Why not simply make the outcome… ‘being a group that works together’?”


Forcing her to see what she wants deep inside, her temptation is almost complete. While a born liar, she is, like him, someone that seeks…


(… I want you to succeed where I didn’t. You’re a better person than I am.)


The life she’s about to choose for herself hurts.

“You can have them, and your goals…” Adris starts to close on her…




Hands move quickly, her mouth furious.

{Your contract is to own them. You think I’m buying your shit?}


“It is as such, which is the illusion. Kol believes that ownership is required, so the terms are-”


{I don’t believe you. I know the kind of person you are. There’s no way you want “equality.” You want to…}

Her last gesture trails off.


{So long as you need me, you don’t have a say in what you get, anyway~! There’s no room for more bargaining, little “offworlder” who is about to be sold~! You’re selling yourself far too highly~!}

Finally breaking down the negotiations, she forces the end in the “voice” that lies and hides to win.




{Agree or lose. Okay~?}


“I don’t need to ‘collude’ with you, Still, in order to win. I could overpower you at any time.”




A short sword appears from nowhere, as if it comes from her hand itself.

The cross is against it, blocking it from slashing his throat. The boy is relaxed, feeling the movement of the blade and sticking with it.


A hand moves briskly with self-assurance.

{Ehhhhhh? So sure, are you? Oh, how sweet~. Well, well. It’s an interesting idea, “equality,” but I dooooon’t believe you~. I know what dwells inside of you, the skin you wear over it~! I’ve felt those same things! Made the same choices. While Neesiette might be helpful, Ave might be kind, and that retard is… unfortunately for you, my personality is a little…}


A second short sword appears in her other hand.


With his cross blocking one sword, the other is ready to pierce through him. His free hand is on Cethran’s purple cloth, ready to pull it loose.


“Stab me and you will find that the revealed form of this cross is something quite terrible to behold. Though I said it is sealed, it is only thinly hidden from this world. Once awakened, if I cannot choose the nature of its outflow, it will simply devour everyone.”


(This is just theater. If you wanted to kill me, the whispers would tell me. But if it isn’t theater… enjoy what comes out of this cross. I absolve myself of responsibility. Doom yourself!)


This obsession to have them has no safe outlet now. Adris’ gaze must be interesting to behold, because Still perks up.


“Then, let’s do this: I will agree to your oath as dictated, with the stipulation that if I release Kol and Ave, you must also release Neesiette. When I win, we must all be equal partners. We guide them from the shadows, together.”


When the sword moves an inch forward, Adris amends his previous statement.


“I forgot one thing. I will make you this promise if you take this path: of all the desires listed from the others, I will prioritize yours whenever we have the power and opportunity to do so. Even if as ‘partners’ you would deny me responsibility to help avenge yourself, I will promise to do so under this oath.”


Her hat wobbling, he smiles genuinely.


“Let’s take them to glory, together.”






Adris smiles, a dark and cynical one, before speaking with a comical tone.


“Because of all the things I hate here, I hate this Alchemaster the most. Everything I hear about her: her opulence; her actions; her cruelty; her ambitions; this damnable mansion. It all makes me want to… destroy her.”


Still shakes her head, shrugging with deep amusement. She stabs the other sword into the desk, making gestures with great comedic sweeps.


{Fine, whatever. As absolutely unlikely as it is, sure. I know you, you glib bastard. Trying to weasel out of the deal I know will work~! If you really want to do it, then do it after proving you have an ounce of power…~ I’m not even convinced you have any~!}


Putting her hand before her, Still moves it precisely.


{This one, Still, before Zaarin, Gravemonger and lord of the dead, agrees to the following contract that amends one previously made: I shall be party to this original plan; he shall never impede my independence or mission; we make decisions together, and alone about our own interests… Adris fehl Dain will never seek to bind me by his authority! …}




What follows is an incredibly precise contract that guarantees both their interests.

Left impressed and mistrusted by her perfect word choices, Adris doesn’t voice complaints.




{… Adris will thereafter help me to influence them and guide them on the path of destroying the Alchemaster, honored by me releasing them if he does. Adris will help me fulfill my truest desires, as I honor his own pursuits.}


(Competent. I think you’re going to find the terms agreeable in the future.)


With a smile on her face and a short sword in her hand, Still challenges him.




Adris raises his hand, a finger up.


“One amendment.”


She leans in, a daring sort of movement.


{What is it?}




“Being partners doesn’t sound bad. Can we keep that bit?”


(Thinking I’ll double cross you… is keeping my word a reverse double cross?)






Name: Adris fehl Dain; “Mister Meat”
Titles: Scholar Bound in Madness, Greedy Informant, Lycia’s Little Brother, True False God
Race: Xin’El, Emperor’s Child (Human)
Sex: Male
Age: ?? – Young


Occupation: Crossbearer; Charlatan/Swindler; Xin’Reh (former); Soldier of Fortune (former); Bounty Hunter (former)
Discipline: Crossbearer – Cursed Aura User; Spear Veteran (former); Aura Warrior, School/Specialization: Self-Taught (former)



[Tool Savant] – “Adris is a tool-collecting-and-utilizing fanatic. Most men would consider him disgusting for loving tools more than his own partner. Has so many tools that it can be said to be his true power. What does he do when he has no tools left? He seeks to acquire more, obviously!”




[Unknown Protection from Poisons/Compelling] – {A MAN WALKS, HIS STEPS UNWEARIED AND RESOLUTE. NONE CAN STOP HIM.}




[Unknown Mental Domination] – {A MAN DEMANDS. THOSE WHO HE DEMANDS OF, OBEY.}


[Familiar] – “Through means unknown, a familiar has been acquired. Aren’t familiars a kind of tool? Isn’t this sort of strange to consider a ‘power’?”



Disposition: Resilient / Adaptable / Sinner
Alignment: Chaotic

Eyes: Black
Hair: Black, with strands of White
Skin: Tanned



Rantil Value – “Idiot master receives idiot information~”


Attributes by Grade:

Strength – E

Vitality – E

Dexterity – D

Agility – C

Intelligence – D

Mentality – C

Luck – F

Charisma – D


“If you want more, stop being mean to Rantil!”



Cethran Value – “If all men looked like him, it might not be odd for women to think that the gods had painted the world in only the drab color brown? While not ugly, would he not exemplify the idea that ‘normal’ is perhaps indistinguishable from ‘undesirable’?”

“There’s little to say, isn’t there? Aren’t you truly beautiful when you’re honest?”

“Playing up the mystery too much might prove troublesome? A man of only mystery can be angel or devil, yes?”



“A rather plain-looking man wearing traveling robes, what he carries hidden is far more dangerous than his appearance lets on. A disarming smile, leads to you being suckered. A clever tongue, leads to your sorrow. Possessing quick wit and intellect, hubris and arrogance are certain to follow. Well known across the floating islands of Xin, but not by name, only by reputation. Owed many favors, but not with great joy, and certainly not love. The only person he seems to care about other than himself is his lifelong partner.”

“Losing everything is often an impetus to descend deeper into bad things. In Adris’ case, it certainly amped up his energy for harming others.”

“Nothing is off the table for a man with nothing to lose.”



“In the end, wanting a fight is the same as saying that you’re the bad guy. By this point, you might be…”



Name: Still
Titles: Puddle
Race: Human?
Sex: Female
Age: Young Lady


Occupation: Delver, Trickster/Outfighter
Discipline: ???





Disposition: Playful / Sadistic / Skulking
Alignment: Chaotic

Eyes: ???
Hair: ???
Skin: ???



Rantil Value –

Attributes by Grade:

Agility – C




Cethran Value – “Do you really think it’s not obvious? What she possesses is what you’ve missed all your life, yes? Breasts and curves… are these not a new fruit for you to taste?”

“While you don’t get to see much of her, it may be that her lifestyle is the most appealing thing, perhaps? If she’s always surprising you, doesn’t that create an appeal of danger?”

“Possessing feminine pursuits such as sewing and toxicology, isn’t she perfect for you?”

“Do you find yourself losing focus in her presence? You might be weaker to seduction than you think? Or is it something else…?”



“A mute girl who says much with gestures, she also has more going on than she seems to. Though not outwardly aggressive, there’s an atmosphere of danger about her. Opposite of Kol, hers is subtle… Yet, she also can protect others. Given to acrobatics, it matches with her dark, but flamboyant, colors.”

“Self composed as always, it won’t be easy for Adris to get into her head.”

“Not interfering unless she has to, Still appears to be mild-mannered, but such a misunderstanding might be dangerous.”

“Showing something of her true nature, the girl that says little can surprisingly say a lot when she needs to.”



“Got one pulled over on her, she looks ready for revenge.”








Chapter 27         Table of Contents          Chapter 29